Hunting Is Exhausting

We’re house hunting.

As of now, it looks like it is very likely that we will purchase a duplex with Zach’s parents.

For many people, that would be a horrendously awful thought. I’m lucky: I love my pseudo in-laws. I absolutely adore them, and we get along fabulously. Besides that, having babysitters that live next door? Awesome.

They came to visit this past weekend, and while they were here we looked at a bunch of places all over the city and, gasp!, in the suburbs. While looking at houses can be a lot of fun, looking at duplexes can be rather depressing.

Most of them were tenant occupied, and some of them were downright nasty. Not only was the worst offender a disgusting mess, to the extent that you literally could not walk across the floors of the bedrooms, but also? The house reeked of marijuana and cigarette smoke. There were two young children there.

Fortunately, they were not all bad. And our fingers are crossed that we will be able to work something out.

Also fortunately, Alex was an angel all weekend while we went into and out of the car, into and out of houses, walked around messes (not the pot-filled house!) and up and down the streets all while skipping nap time. He hung out on Zach’s back, said hello to the tenants, and was genuinely charming the whole time.

While life may be pretty inhospitable for a lot of people, Alex had a fabulous life on Zach’s back for the weekend. Even if the two of them combined make for a double furnace turned on high on 80-degree-100%-humidity days.

House Hunting

Asleep in the car

Why I’m a Sucker

Saying “no” to Alex is easy for me most of the time. He wants to play with knives? No. He wants to push over our speakers? No. He wants to eat a stick on the ground? No. But sometimes he makes it impossible.

We end up going to Target a lot. And I mean a lot a lot. To keep him entertained I either open up a box of crackers or let him play with a small toy until I am finished. We always return the toy right before we check out, and he always gets upset when I have to take away his crackers in order to pay for them.

Today we went straight to the back of the store to look at the larger toys, and what did I have to hear? “Elmo! Elmo! Elmo! Elmo!” over and over and over again. He spotted the Elmo toys. I immediately regretted the decision to walk down that aisle.

I picked up a stuffed animal Elmo (who is also a puppet) and handed it to him. “Elmo! Mama! Elmo!” He was so very excited.

We were grabbing a few items here and there, and I was all set on putting Elmo back before we left. But then Alex suckered me.

“Mwah!” He gave Elmo a kiss.

“Mwah!” He gave Elmo another kiss.

He hugged and kissed Elmo again and again.

He held Elmo up to me and asked, “mwah?” until I kissed Elmo.

If you saw some woman kissing Elmo at Target the other day? That was me. Kissing Elmo again and again.

“Mwah! Awww. Elmo!”

So, I bought Elmo.

I’m a total sucker.

Alex and Elmo

It’s About To Get Worse, Isn’t It?

Remember this? You know, the one where I complained about strangers touching Alex? That issue has not stopped. I have learned to very obviously ignore whoever is touching my son, and will generally even move away from them. I have not (yet) said anything rude, although I have certainly wanted to. A few times I have lied, saying that he has a cold or pink eye. That seems to be the only thing that actually influences people to stop touching him.

I thought it was getting better, because I have gone out with him a few times recently and no one has done anything more than wave, smile, and maybe attempt small talk with him. (Yes, small talk with Alex. Not me.) That’s fine. I smile at babies when I see them, and if they are smiling back I may wave or say, “Hi!” to them. No problem there.

Today, I realized that it’s about to get worse.

Now that the weather is getting cold here, Alex is in dire need of sweaters. He only had three, so, naturally, I needed to fix that. Alex and I went to a nice children’s consignment store near our house, exchanging some of his smaller stuff for newer, warmer, clothing. While I attempted to fit through the very narrow aisles with Alex strapped to my back, a woman said “Hi!” to him and he. said. “hi.” back.

Distinctly. There was no mistaking it. He said “hi!”

After we checked out, we headed to Target for some Milk. (And a sweater. And a hat and mitten set.) While we were checking out, the cashier did the typical “Hi-how-are-you-today-ma’am?” blur of words, to which Alex responded, “Hi!” and waved. (The stereotypical baby/toddler backward wave.)

So amazingly adorable. The moment was only slightly dulled by the fact that the woman standing in line behind us touched Alex’s cheek and then bounced his foot up and down while he was sitting peacefully in the shopping cart.


Why I Love My Son

This past December, my phone stopped charging. It would indicate that it was fully charged, but when I tried to make a call I couldn’t talk on it for more than 3 minutes before it would die. Fortunately, I was able to get a new phone from my Best Friend, Sarah.

Unfortunately, that phone stopped working last week. Every once in a while I would let Alex play with my phone. He was just so. fascinated. by it. He loved that it not only opened, but that it opened two different ways. He loved that when you pressed a button something happened on the screen. He loved that he was playing with something that he knew he wasn’t really supposed to be playing with.

Suddenly the phone stopped making noise. It wouldn’t ring. When I called someone, I couldn’t hear it ringing and I couldn’t hear them talking. My poor Mother had to deal with me acting like an idiot, swearing at my phone, completely unaware that she could hear me. (Think Michael Cera in Superbad.)

Obviously, a broken phone requires getting a new phone.

Thank goodness for credit cards, because I splurged and bought myself a beautiful iPhone. It’s the first thing I’ve bought for myself in… months. (Unless you count Starbucks.)

I’m officially a cool kid. And so is Alex for breaking my phone so that I didn’t have to.

Black and White Alex

A Few Things

1. I entered Alex into the Parents Magazine Cover Photo Contest! I put a little blurb in my side bar, so if you have the chance and agree that he is a cutie I would love it if you would take a minute (or less, really!) to check out the photos I uploaded!

2. I overheard an interested conversation yesterday while checking out at Wal-Mart. First, let me just say that I hate Wal-Mart. Probably more than most people. I haven’t stepped inside of a Wal-Mart in a long time, and had even said that I would never go into one again, but I had read that they had Muir Glen organic tomatoes on sale, and with the coupons I had it would have made them almost free. Well, I ventured into the awful place and they didn’t even have them. I bought some cereal that we needed instead, for 50 cents with a coupon.

Anyway, here was the conversation:

Cashier #1: How old is her baby?
Cashier #2: Oh he is only like 2 weeks old. He’s so cute.
Cashier #1: Aw, that’s nice. She must be so happy.
Cashier #2: Yeah. She’s really lucky too. He was breach, so she got to have a C-section.
Cashier #1: ::giggle giggle::
Cashier #2: I’m serious! I would choose to have a C-section. Why go through all that labor when you can just have ’em cut out of you? That is way easier!
Cashier #1: Yeah, that’s true.

I left at the point point, relieved that I was leaving because otherwise I would have said something. Something about how having a C-section is not easier. Something about how saying that having a C-section is easier is a ridiculous and ill-informed thing to say. Something about how the recovery for a C-section is so much longer. Something about how many women feel inadequate if they have to have a C-section and will often feel like they didn’t have a “real birth.” Something about how for the first two weeks after you can’t properly hold your baby, breast feeding is insanely hard because of the huge wound, and you need help to go to the bathroom because you can’t use any abdominal muscles to sit down by yourself. Something about how the pain medications that you will be on for the first two weeks (or more) make you really groggy and how you can’t focus because of it. Something about how you have a huge scar across your lower abdomen that will never go away. Something about the fact that your baby is more likely to have fluid in their lungs after a cesarean birth. Something about the fact that walking is hard for weeks afterwards. Something about how itchy the scar can be for a long, long, time. Something about how having a cesarean sucks. But I left.

3. I’m finally going to CVS tomorrow. I have the trip all planned out, and hopefully they will have the items I want in stock. I’m “splurging” and using most of my Extra Credit Bucks to buy diapers and wipes for Alex and some new mineral foundation for myself. I wont come out on top, but if it all works as planned I’ll come out even (spending almost nothing) and with a lot of needed stuff!

4. And, of course, here is a picture of Alex from earlier today:

Day 10

Toys are so overrated.

A quick end to a starter

Yesterday, I decided that I am going to make bread. Why not? If not for every day use, at least once in a while. I have made bread in the past, and it is always unbelievably good. There is just something special about home made bread that you can’t find in the store-bought variety.

So, I went to the store today, carrying Alex in one arm, not wanting to bother putting him in a sling to just run inside, and bought some yeast and bread flour. Carrying an almost-18 pound baby in one arm, bending all the way to the bottom shelf to pick up two bags of bread flour, and then reaching up to the top shelf to grab the yeast was, well, not fun. My arms hurt.

Anyway, I came home and mixed 2 cups of flour with 2 cups of warm water and added the yeast. I followed some advice I had found online about the initial fermentation of a sourdough starter and placed the flour-water-yeast mixture into the oven with the pilot light on. It started bubbling and growing within 30 minutes. I could tell that this would be a good starter, and I was excited about making some bread in the near future!

At the beginning of my Religions of the World class this evening I got a text message from Zach:

“I think I may have ruined your starter :-(”

I knew right away what that meant:


Needless to say, I’ll have to make another starter (and purchase a new plastic mixing bowl)!

Flank Steak + Rosemary Potatoes

Tonight I made a delicious meal, consisting of broiled Flank Steak marinated in olive oil, salt, pepper, paprika and garlic, and roasted red potatoes coated in olive oil, salt, pepper, lots of garlic and rosemary. Unbelievably tasty meal, especially considering how easy it is.

Check it out (this picture is from the last time I made it):


I really enjoy trying new recipes, and have recently become a regular cook. I make us dinner about 4 nights a week–the other three nights we are either eating out or making something simple (i.e. frozen pizza) because of my night class schedule–and will probably increase that to 6 once we move to California.

With all of this cooking, though, our grocery bill has increased two- or three-fold. I came across The Grocery Game, which claims to lower (drastically) your grocery bill through a posted list of sales and your own gathering of coupons. This site gives you a list of items on sale at your local grocery store (in my case Giant Eagle) and tells you how much money, percentage-wise, you can save on the individual items.

People on this site spend a very, very, small fraction of what we are spending every week, often with multiple children, so I’m tempted to believe that it really works. I haven’t actually tried it, yet, and probably wont be able to really get into it until we move to California based on the fact that the point is to stock up on items while they are on sale and, according to the website, it takes about 3 months to stock up properly.

The site also includes lists to local drug stores, such as CVS and Walgreens, so you can get extremely discounted prices (sometimes free, it seems!) on beauty items and house hold goods that you don’t tend to purchase at a grocery store.

I hope to lower the amount we spend on groceries to half of what we are paying now. I’ll let you know how that goes once we are in California and I can start really trying The Grocery Game!